Thursday, August 27, 2015

Stevie Ray Vaughan 25 Years Gone

While the big news was the 40th anniversary of Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run album came out this week, an even bigger event came up when Stevie Ray Vaughan took a ill fated helicopter and moved up to jam with Jimi Hendrix in the afterlife.

I recall hearing the news when my then girl interest Melissa told me about it and she was crying about it and I think we hugged each other before she went back into her routine at Dancers.  While her memory is gone into the ages, the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan continues to be a part of my music lifestyle.  If anything Stevie Ray Vaughan was the last true guitar hero in my lifetime, his passing pretty much snuffed out the blues players getting any radio airplay.

Stevie Ray was a music genius who could play anything he wanted to, jazz, fusion, rock and blues.  He could do it all.  It was a twist of fate in his first Montreaux concert that he gave a on fire performance, only to be greeted with indifference and boos, to which Jackson Browne and David Bowie came to his defense, Browne offering up his recording studio and Bowie offering a spot in his band to play guitar.  To which Bowie's comeback album of 1983 Let's Dance came to be.  While grateful, Stevie wanted more to show off his band Double Trouble, Tommy Shannon, who was part of Johnny Winter's band and Chris Leyton on drums.  The end result would be Texas Flood, a down and dirty album classic of its own.

Couldn't Stand The Weather showed SRV's jazzier side and he could take a Jimi Hendrix classic song and make it his own, Voodoo Chile was updated for the masses to hear and I may be in the minority but I thought Stevie's was the classic version.  The way that he mixes up the guitar lead and have Leyton follow him on drums is pure awesome.  The Texas shuffle of Cold Shot, and 9 minute despair of Tin Pin Alley has to be heard to be believed.

With Reese Wynans Double Trouble was complete.  Vaughn returned back to Montreaux in 1985 to a hero's welcome, but in the meantime he was battling booze and drugs and it would take a while for him to finally become clean in 1989.  He then recorded In Step, with the radio ready hits of Crossfire and The House Is Rocking and was in the process of joining up with his brother Jimmie on a new album by the Vaughn Brothers before playing Alpine Valley and have things come to a crashing ending.

And music hasn't been the same since.  Sure Kurt Cobain became the new rock and roll hero before he blew his brains out, but as for blues influenced rock nobody could fill Stevie Ray's shoes although Joe Bonnamassa comes close.  But to me, Stevie Ray was the last great guitar hero of my time and 25 years later he is still missed.

Play on SRV.

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